Can you get an STI from oral sex? What are some safer oral sex practices?
Dr. Sawyer: OK … this isn’t exactly going to sound like Shakespeare, but here’s my truism on this issue: “You can get something wherever you put something.” Most of the infections that are sexually transmissible can be passed on through various activities – through the vagina, the penis, orall or anally. The bugs that cause the infection don’t care what part of the body they invade, they just want somewhere to live for a while, so yes, you can very definitely get an STI from having oral sex. With oral sex, the “giver” is at higher risk than the “receiver” for reasons that should be pretty obvious, and so precautions taken by the “giver” that might help are: using a condom when performing fellatio (mouth on penis), a dental dam or even Saran wrap for cunnilingus (mouth on vagina), and the same for you really adventurous folks who like to orally explore the anus.
Dr. Robin Sawyer is a professor of health and human sexuality at the University of Maryland. He’s the author of Sexpertise: Real Answers to Real Questions About Sex and producer of four films on human sexuality. Want his answers? Send your questions to [email protected] We’ll keep it confidential.